It's super-technical and back-office, but when media planners
allocate money, they use software, and Mr. Harnevo believes the
move will allow advertisers to TV dollars to video elsewhere
seamlessly, if they choose to do so. More back-office: they are
doing it through a video ad server called FreeWheel, which will
soon assist other publishers to access Mediaocean software.
That, combined with Nielsen online campaign ratings, will mean
TV can be compared to digital video on the apples-to-apples basis
of reach and frequency, rather than web metrics like views or time
More than $150 billion in ad spending is processed through
Mediaocean, including plenty of TV budgets. "We feel this is the
time to merge the industries if the content is good," Mr. Harnevo
The truth is that while adland lines up for the so-called
NewFronts, the dollar amounts actually spent on digital inventory
ahead of time are very small, pulled mostly from existing digital
budgets and not from TV. "There is little urgency to change this
because the scale of web video remains small," wrote Brian Wieser,
an analyst at Pivotal Research and former forecasting director at
Magna Global. "Recent data from Nielsen indicates that
desktop/laptop viewing of video indicates equaled 4.3% of TV
viewing among the people watching any online video, and 2.5% of
total TV viewing."
That doesn't include connected TV viewing, but you get the
But that doesn't also mean that friction isn't also an issue.
One of the reasons TV gets the dollars is because its easy to buy
compared to video. If video can't be compared on a like basis it
has little chance of breaking into the truly big budgets, no matter
how many viewers it starts to attract.
On the content front, AOL bought the rights to a film sure to
attract nerds of a certain age: "Downloaded: The Story of Napster,"
produced by Napster founder Sean Fanning and partner Sean Parker,
which comes to theaters in June. AOL plans to cut it up into
web-sized bites and like everything it does in video, distribute
across the 5Min network it bought three years ago.
The company announced 15 different original series today with
celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, who is executive producer of
"City.Ballet," Nicole Richie, whose Twitter feed takes center stage
in #CandidlyNicole, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who will interview women
overcoming hardship in "Second Chances." Hank Azaria will document
his own life as a first-time father in "Fatherhood."
That and Monday AOL announced that its daily live online news
network Huffpost Live will be carried on Mark
Cuban's AXS TV cable network. "AOL has never produced content
at such scale," Mr. Harnevo said.
For brands wishing to create and distribute their own content,
AOL is launching Be On, a production studio and distribution
network across the web, mobile and connected TVs.